Regular #SpeedRead readers will recall our “Weird and Wonderful Indy Cars” series from motorsports journalist Marshall Pruett, a hit in our countdown to the 100th Indy 500 earlier this year and continuing through the summer. This week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we’re all about aircraft at the Red Bull Air Race, and we found what can only be called a “Weird and Wonderful” raceplane.
Petr Kopfstein of the Czech Republic, the 2014 Challenger Cup champion now flying in the Master Class, pilots an Edge 540 V3 that’s unlike any other in the hangar, thanks to beautiful hand-painted wings and fuselage depicting the Austrian town of Spielberg and the Red Bull Ring, which holds a Red Bull Air Race among other world-class events.
“It just shows what you can do — go rock climbing, play golf, pleasure rides. There’s so many things,” Kopfstein said.
Warm-weather pursuits are depicted on the top of the wings, with winter activities represented on the bottom of the wings.
“Every time I look at it, I find something different,” Kopfstein said. “And I know the aircraft pretty well.”
For race planes and cars today, decals are far more common than paint jobs nowadays. Decals are easier, cheaper and — most importantly — lighter.
“This is heavier, there’s more paint used,” Kopfstein said. “But I’m not the heaviest pilot, so it didn’t cause any issues. I love the way it flies.”